7 March 2014

THOUGHTS ON INDY PUBLISHING: Part One: It's Time To Step Up!

I thought I'd share some thoughts on marketing/publishing this morning.


If you don't have a goal, you're probably not going to reach it. If you don't have a plan, you're probably not going to realize it.

Sounds obvious, right? It is. But the strange truth is, most of the artists I meet don't have much of a plan beyond creating their art (writing, painting, photography, whatever).

I can't say I blame them either. As artists, we typically shrug our shoulders at the idea of treating our art as a business rather than just a creative outlet. I can't tell you how often I hear writers say (when I talk to them about publishing) "wow, that sounds like a lot of work." Well, it is. But so is writing a novel. No one said this was going to be easy.

I also get this a lot: "Oh, I just want to write." And why not? After all, we do what we do. We write. And we figure the business side will be taken care of by others once we're 'discovered.' Publishers, agents, managers -- they'll handle the business for us.

I've always found this an unfortunate mistake to make. The way I see it, why would anyone want to put in the time and effort to make you successful if you're not willing to do it yourself? Maybe this is where I got lucky -- and I don't mean by getting discovered. I'm far too cynical to think that anyone would publish me, especially in this day and age where the mid-list writer has all but vanished from traditional publishing. Or maybe I suffer from such low self-esteem that it never occurred to me that anyone would want represent me or take me on as a partner. Either way, I knew it was up to me to step up and get things done.

It's still a struggle, and it's a lot of hard work, but the rewards definitely make it worth it. I think that's why I'm always urging other writers to step up, take more risks, and set their sights WAY higher than where they are now. You're allowed to want success, and there's no reason why you can't have it. So have a goal. Set the bar higher.


The first step to success is realizing that you can be successful.



Next Week, Part Two: Okay, I'm ready to work. Now what? 


28 February 2014

SFR BRIGADE PRESENTS: TGFA II: CODENAME WHITE PRINCESS (Flora, part II)



Posting from my WiP
TGfA III: Codename: White Princess (working title)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.




LAST WEEK: we met Flora who was waking from a terrible nightmare.

THIS WEEK: Flora tries to come to grips with what's happening to her.







Flora, Part I
Flora, Part II


The dreams were more graphic now, vivid. And they no longer faded away when she awoke. Not immediately. Like an oily residue, they clung to her, filthy and sticky. The metallic scent of gore and blood—even imagined—stung her noes. She could no longer shake the memory of things she'd done. Horrible, unspeakable things; violent and brutal. She'd killed. Countless times. Cold blooded and merciless. Man or machine, it mattered not. All fell before her. But there was pleasure in those dreams, as well. Once again, the woman had come for her, and when Flora closed her eyes she could still see her face, stark and beautiful. But this time—this time the woman spoke to her.
Flora shivered at the memory, fading now in the dim light of early morning. In all those nights, in all those dreams, the woman had never spoken to her, ever.
Not until last night.
She'd called to her. By name. No, not by name—not hers. It was another. But it was her. It was…
Flora pounded at her temples, trying to remember. What had she called her?
Sigrid.


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFR Brigade authors here: http://sfrcontests.blogspot.ca/p/sfr-brigade-presents.html?spref=fb!


Cheers, Cary!


21 February 2014

SFR BRIGADE PRESENTS: CODENAME: WHITE PRINCESS



Posting from my WiP
TGfA III: Codename: White Princess (working title)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.




THIS WEEK: A small taste of things to come! This snippet is for people who may have read the last chapter of the last book.

Waking from a horrible nightmare.









She awoke suddenly, sitting up in bed, gasping for air. Her sheets and night clothes were soaked, damp and clinging. She shivered uncontrollably, hugging herself with her arms. But it wasn't the damp pajamas that chilled her, it was the memory, the dream, still fresh in her head.
She looked quickly around the bedroom, her head on a swivel, not daring to believe she was home and safe in her bed, when only moments ago she'd been in that—that place. And it wasn't for the first time. No matter the dream, it always ended the same, always ending in that place. She shuddered at the memory. Those men—nameless faces, floating above her, hands touching her, voices laughing. 
Hugging her knees, she did her best to slow her breathing, calm the pounding in her chest. There, yes, her clothes were still heaped in a pile on the floor where she'd left them, her wristwatch on the nightstand next to the half-drunk glass of water—it was a dream, that was all. Just a dream. It wasn't real.
She was back. She was home. It was over. And her name was Flora.



Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFR Brigade authors here: http://sfrcontests.blogspot.ca/p/sfr-brigade-presents.html?spref=fb!


Cheers, Cary!


7 February 2014

SFR Presents: TGfA III: Codename: White Princess (working title)



Posting from my WiP
TGfA III: Codename: White Princess (working title)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.



THIS WEEK: Just to keep things simple, I'm continuing on from last week's instalment. Markus Emerson continues to monitor the deteriorating situation outside the Kimuran Enclave on Aquarii II.

And, once again, I can't say when or where this scene takes place in the book (no spoilers), or if it will even make the final cut. Who knows!




Part One (Feb 2)
Part Two (Feb 8)


Markus heard the soft footfalls behind him, though he didn't turn. His wife placed an arm around his waist as she came to rest at his side. He caught the scent of her perfume, bergamot and spice. It was subtle; she only ever wore enough that it would be noticed by someone standing very close to her, as she was to him now.
"It's getting worse, isn't it," she said, staring out at the destruction beyond the walls.
Markus smiled. If anyone else had said that, he might assume they were looking for reassurance. But Markus knew his wife well. She might be married to him, but she was no bureaucrat, and she could care less about the business of mercenaries or federated corporations. She was a marine. A Kimuran Marine. Destruction, violence—this was her area of expertise. Her comfort zone.
"General Porter says he can take care of them," she said; Markus caught the chill in her voice. "All you have to do is give the word."
This time, Markus did turn to her. "Genocide? Has it really come to that?"

"Self defense," she answered back, and there was no emotion in her voice or on her face.



Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFR Brigade authors here: http://sfrcontests.blogspot.ca/p/sfr-brigade-presents.html?spref=fb!


Cheers, Cary!


31 January 2014

Science-Fiction Romance Brigade Presents...



Posting from my WiP
TGfA III: Codename: White Princess (working title)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.



THIS WEEK: There's so much I want to post, but everything feels like a massive spoiler. So, instead I'll leave you with this, a hint of things that occurred after then end of the Machines. A taste of things to come? Perhaps.






Markus Emerson stood on the balcony of the manor house overlooking his estate. Smoke rose in the distance, thick and black, covering the city in choking darkness. He could just make out the charred remains of the tenement structures beyond the walls of the Kimuran enclave. Flames licked upward, flares of orange and yellow, stark against the blackened sky. There were more fires this night. Many more. Tonight, the city would burn.
They were fools, torching their own homes, their places of business, their own livelihoods. Didn't they realize? No, of course they didn't. This wasn't the work of rational men and women. They were beyond thought, beyond reason. The mob had taken over now, and there was little to do but let the scene play out.
No, that wasn't even true. This was beyond rioting, and Markus knew it. This was revolution. And like a wildfire raging, it came, swift and fierce, just as he predicted.
He had seen it. He had warned them. Of course, they hadn't listened. And now this.
Hitomi's words echoed in his head, the warning spoken so many years ago.
All empires must fall.


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFR Brigade authors here: http://sfrcontests.blogspot.ca/p/sfr-brigade-presents.html?spref=fb!


Cheers, Cary!




28 January 2014

Meet Tara Maya and "The Unfinished Song" fantasy series.

I've just been introduced to the amazing Tara Maya and her 'Unfinished Song' fantasy series. Here's everything you need to know about the book (excerpt included!). Best of all, Initiate (book one) is free on Amazon right now, I think, so check it out!


The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

BLURB
DEADLY INITIATION

A DETERMINED GIRL...
Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.


AN EXILED WARRIOR...
Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.


EXCERPT
Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again. 

She hadn't appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater. 

"Join our circle, Dindi!" the fae voices gurgled under the water. "Dance with us forever!" 

"No!" She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, "Dispel!" but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn't be coming up again. 

"Dispel!" It was a man's voice. 

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently. 

She coughed out some water while he supported her back. 

"Better?" he asked. 

She nodded. He was young--only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi. 

"Good." He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head. 

Dindi's hand touched skin--he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed. 

"It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that," he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. "What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?"


LINKS
Tara’s blog http://bit.ly/12dFdNy
Tara’s Twitter http://bit.ly/162sCtE
The Unfinished Song on Facebook http://on.fb.me/1400mMq
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/13yM5Dr


Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.

4 December 2013

SFR BRIGADE PRESENTS - Codename: White Princess, The Girls from Alcyone III



Posting from my WiP
TGfA III: Codename: White Princess (working title)

The Girls From Alcyone is the continuing story of two very special young women who find themselves at the heart of a conflict spanning more than forty worlds.



THIS WEEK: I'm very excited. This is my first posting ever for SFR Brigade Presents. Andit's my first posting from my new WiP TGfA III

This scene is from the very beginning of White Princess -- though that might change. But then that's why we call it a work in progress.






The gamblers den lay down a narrow flight of stone steps. Water dripped down the length of the stone wall making the stairs slick and treacherous. Suko took care as she made her way down, keeping one hand against the crumbling mortar of the wall. The noise grew louder ahead: the sounds of music, many voices raised, each person trying to make themselves heard above the din.
She counted at least seventy-five persons inside, most of them male, most of them sitting around tables, and engaged in various games of chance. Smoke hung thick in the air, as did the sharp stench of unwashed bodies and spilled ale. And blood.

Pulling back the hood, she shook the rain from her short cloak. Water beaded on the fine black material of her one-piece outfit, dripping down and pooling at her feet. Three men standing by the bar looked up, taking note of her entrance. Suko was in no mood. Casually, she lifted the cloak back over her shoulder to better reveal the large-caliber recoilless holstered to her thigh. The men turned back to their ale, wisely choosing drink over any foolhardy attempts at flirtation.


Oh, and don't forget to check out snippets from other SFR Brigade authors here: http://sfrcontests.blogspot.ca/p/sfr-brigade-presents.html?spref=fb!


Cheers, Cary!